In the Baker Street Journal, the Commissionaire recorded that the 1981 Dinner marking Sherlock Holmes’s 127th birthday was “one of its best.” Distinguished guests included visitors from Scandinavia: Nils Nordberg, Åke Runnquist, and Ted Bergman (“The Honourable Philip Green”). Ad (Mrs.Will) Oursler was toasted as The Woman. The readings of Sherlock Holmes’s Prayer, the Musgrave Ritual, and the Constitution and Buy-Laws were stirring; the Canonical Toasts were especially witty and clever. Members stood on the terrace “to have our last quiet talk with those stalwarts who had dropped from the ranks since we had last met.” Eleven Irregular Shillings were bestowed. A number of characteristically witty talks were delivered, with Edward Clark’s oration being singled out for particular mention.
The Commissionaire was even presented with two medals from the Maiwand Jezails and the Irish Secret Society at Buffalo. Attendees departed at the evening’s close “with the determination to outdo ourselves next year, if possible.”
Dinner Details: January 9, 1981
The Regency Hotel, 540 Park Avenue, New York
Dinner Photo InformationClick on the above photo to see a larger version of it, and maximize your browser window to see the most detail.
Key to People in the 1981 BSI Dinner photo (not available at this time)
BSI Honours ListInvestitures:
Howard Brody as Anstruther
John F. Farrell as The Tiger of San Pedro
Kenton A. Johnson as A Remarkable Invention
Irving Kamil as Monsieur Oscar Meunier, of Grenoble
Gene A. Leeb as The Franco-Midland Hardware Company
Tom McGee as Wilson, the Notorious Canary-Trainer
Nils Nordberg as A Norwegian Named Sigerson
Åke Runnquist as Jacob Shafter
David Skene-Melvin as The Duke of Holdernesse
Edgar B. Smith as Dr. Moore Agar
Harlan L. Umansky as Jonathan Small
* received Investiture at another event during the year
What is an Investiture?
Robert W. Hahn
What is a Two-Shilling Award?
Ad (Mrs. Will) Oursler
What is The Woman honour?
"Stand with me here upon the terrace..."
(as named at this Dinner, not their year of passing)
Richard W. Clarke (The Copper Beeches, 1949)
Norman Schatell (Jonathan Small, 1977)
Frank V. Morley (The Three Garridebs, 1944)
Jussi Kurikka (a leading Sherlockian in Finland)
What is the origin of “standing on the terrace?”
No awards were given from 1981-1995.
What is the Morley-Montgomery Award?
Reports on the DinnerThe Baker Street Journal v31 n1 (March 1981) p. 51 (available in the eBSJ).
The Baker Street Journal v31 n2 (June 1981) p. 120 (available in the eBSJ).
List of 1981 BSI Dinner Attendees (not available at this time)
RecordingsIn the following 3-minute vignette from the 1981 BSI Dinner, Commissionaire Julian Wolff introduces Robert Robinson (The Hansom Cab) who reads The Sherlock Holmes Prayer, which was written by Christopher Morley. The Sherlock Holmes Prayer is rarely heard today.
Click to play this recording
A recording of the entire 1981 BSI Dinner is available at Harvard as part of the BSI Archive.
Related Material1981 BSI Dinner Menu (digitized images at Harvard)
Two pages. Cover and interior. Sequence 85-86
Previous dinner: the 1980 BSI Dinner
Next dinner: the 1982 BSI Dinner
For an index to all BSI Dinners and photos, see our BSI Dinner Summary list.
The BSI Archive is located at the Houghton Library at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Archival material may be used by any qualified scholar, subject to the normal rules and regulations of the Library. For links to a detailed finding aid and related information, see our BSI Archive at Harvard page.
Page composed on 1/5/2016 by Tamar Zeffren
This page last updated 2/18/2016 by Andrew Solberg.